Monday, December 29, 2008

twenty-two weeks

I'm stealing some time away from work to write. The darn internet connection is down at home again and has been for a couple of weeks. I have no idea what is wrong with it or how long it will take until it is working again. Once again I get to practice being patient.

Our snow is finally gone. After more than two weeks of one snowstorm following another the temperature got above freezing on Saturday. I normally don't mind the snow, actually enjoy it, but not being able to leave the house by myself was crazy-making.

Today is the first day of week 22. We had another good visit with the Peri last week. My cervix is still holding strong and nice and long. The little guy looks great and is kicking lots and lots now. The P17 shots seem to make a difference with the contractions as well, but I still have a few here and there. All that being said, I have still had a rough last few days. It seems like a good doctor visit puts me on an emotional high for a day or so, then I crash down hard. I get myself convinced that something horrible is about to happen. It doesn't help that I have physical symptoms (cramping, lower back pain, contractions) that can be twisted into something dreadful. (I do know, though, what the real danger signs feel like...) The Peri offered to see me once a week during this time if I felt I needed it, but I said no. I know that I will be able to make it until my next appointment, which is in 10 days. It's nice to know, though, that they would fit me in if I called. And, of course, he has made it perfectly clear that if I ever feel like something was wrong that I should just head directly to the hospital.

It is so hard to not have even a modicum of control over my thoughts at times, too. Just like when the one year anniversary of William's birth/death was approaching, I have found memories presenting themselves without warning. This is the week that we went from everything being wonderful to everything falling apart. And it was exactly on the first day of the 23rd week that he was born. All told it was a five day ordeal and it is amazing how clear and precise my memories are. Things I haven't thought of...I guess things I thought that I had forgotten...are still as sharp as if they were happening now.

Mr. C has been wonderful. He is so peaceful now, so sure that this little guy will be in our arms, alive and healthy, in a few short months. At the same time, though, he comforts me and tells me that it is OK that I am freaking out. He has such a sweet way of reminding me of the facts, of bringing me into the reality of the present moment, while never invalidating my fears.

I made a paper chain for this pregnancy and I open a link for each week. Inside I wrote potentially comforting quotes. The quote for last week was "This, too, shall pass." Today the quote read "Life is not as serious as my mind makes it out to be." My response to that is that I believe that it is true, but it also pisses me off. My brother called me a while back and asked if I had been having much anxiety. He suggested using humor and silliness to help keep it at bay. Does anyone out there have any ideas or suggestions?

Monday, December 15, 2008

'tis the season

We are covered in a blanket of snow. It started on Saturday evening and last night another several inches fell. It is still snowing now. So, in a way, Mother Nature has helped me to make the decision to slow down.

I had planned to go to work today, but with this additional snow it just won't happen. Even though I could get there without a problem (Mr. C has a big truck with 4 wheel drive) the residents can't go out of their houses in the snow until all of the walkways are shoveled and safe. Even then many of them aren't up for going out when it is this cold. At first we thought that I could go in and visit each of the houses. Then Mr. C decided that he doesn't like the idea that I might fall down or something. So he said, "On this very special episode, BasilBean gets a snow day."

Today will be my second day of cocooning inside by the fire. I've started two more paintings. The circles are still being worked on, but slowly, because my belly gets in the way. They require a lot of detail, which means that I need to bend over the painting to some extent whether I use an easel or hold the painting on my lap. This is uncomfortable, but more than that it makes me worry that I am putting pressure on my cervix. I'm using oil paint at this stage,too, so the paintings are messy if I try to handle them too much. So I've started a pair of bigger paintings that are more abstract and textural. Fun. I'm not sure what they will turn into yet, and that is part of the fun.

The anxiety subsided somewhat yesterday. I didn't sleep well during the night, but the coziness of the fire helped me to take a very long nap in the afternoon. When I was reading blogs yesterday I found a reference to a post on a blog I had never seen. It was this: (I'm sorry that I am not properly linking it. It's been so long since I've done so and I don't have the energy right now to find my cheat sheet. I can't use the shortcuts on my laptop because it is a Mac). What Gal wrote was beautiful and rang true to me. Then I read the two posts that bookend the story of her Tikva. I was so moved at how connected Gal was with Tikva, even before she knew about the challenges they would face. I cried like I haven't cried in a very long time. I cried for Gal and her family and sweet Tikva and all of the people she has touched. I cried for William, for myself and Mr. C, and for this Little Guy I am carrying now. I needed that cry.

Today marks 20 weeks. Half way in a full term pregnancy. It is difficult for me to look that far ahead. Instead, I am keeping in mind (whether I want to or not) my two upcoming milestones: getting through the 22nd week (after 5 days of struggling to turn things around, he was born/died on the first day of week 23) and getting to week 24--what I consider the cusp of viability. Really, though, as it has been said, most days it is enough just to get through the day.

I hope the roads are cleared soon, so I can at least feel like it is an option to get out of the house, because I know that the novelty of a snow day will evaporate before too long. But for now I am enjoying being cozy with Gracie, painting, reading, watching tv, and getting kicked by the Little Guy every now and then.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

where did my confidence go?

The sense of reassurance I felt after this week's visit to the Peri didn't last long. Now I have myself convinced that something horrible is just around the corner. Because...of course everything has been fine so far, it was fine at 20 weeks last time, too.

How will I get through the next few weeks? Will I "get through" the next few weeks?

I feel like I shouldn't be going around acting like things are OK. Today I went shopping with Mothership and after about an hour or so of walking around I started to have this nagging thought that I shouldn't be on my feet. I haven't altered my activity-level over the last several weeks, yet my cervical length has remained good and long. But does that mean that I should continue with this level of activity until something changes for the worse? Or should I start taking it easier, as a preventative measure?

I sound pathetic.

Friday, December 12, 2008

my first P17 shot

Yesterday I picked up my prescription for the P17 shots. The pharmacist was so sweet, she said that it was a joy to prepare them for me, because she knew that they were helping a sweet little baby. She apologized that the needle was pretty large, but she felt it was necessary since the solution is oil-based.

I went back to work and asked our nurse to give me the shot. She had me ready for some pain--but it didn't really hurt. And it wasn't/isn't sore afterward, either. So, yay.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the best possible outcome

Just after we entered the waiting room the door opened and it was an ultrasound tech calling back another patient. It was the tech that I got last time, the one I was hoping not to see again today. Check.

A little while later when the door opened for me, it was the ultrasound tech who I did want. She is the one who has done all of my other ultrasounds at this office. She is so kind, spends what seems like an endless amount of time going over everything, explains all that she is seeing and tells me everything is alright--doesn't leave any mysteries for my poor little mind to twist. Check.

Despite the fact that the Little Guy was BUSY (they eventually asked me what I ate for lunch today!) she was able to get every measurement she needed. Everything about the little Guy looks great. Fluid looks great. Placenta looks great. Cord looks great. Check.

And can we have a drum roll, please? My cervical length is....the same!!!!!!! They didn't even have to break out the wand--they were able to get good enough measurements abdominally--so I didn't have to go through the torture again. Check.

And to top it all off, the Peri redeemed himself in my eyes. Last time I had felt that he was insensitive. Today when we met in his office he told me that because of all of the results he doesn't feel like it is necessary to see me so often. However, he quickly added, since we are fast approaching the loss week as well as Christmas he feels that it would be best to continue with appointments every two weeks for the sake of my emotional well being. He said that he doesn't want to back off on the visits until I am through the highest risk time. Bonus check.

I am a happy lady. I can tell that the experience was a much needed reassurance for Mr. C as well, based on comparing his moods prior to and post appointment.

nineteen weeks

I wrote a post about what happened just before Thanksgiving that threw my life into a bit of turmoil. It was a well written post, albeit long and very revealing. It is on my laptop and, for some reason that I don't understand, I can't connect to the internet from my laptop. So here I am sitting at an actual desk.

An attempt at a brief explanation of what happened:

*****The explanation has been deleted, as my anonymity has been thwarted where my family is concerned. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, as things could be taken very personally, so I am taking this particular part of this post out.


Later today I have an appointment with the Peri for a cervical length check and also to have the fetal survey done. I managed to make it until the wee hours of this morning before the anxiety set in. I woke up two hours before my alarm with my mind swimming. I fell back to sleep, only to wake up again about an hour later...from a bad dream in which, in the dream, I started to have a painful contraction. I woke up, lying on my back, and was, indeed, having a contraction. I have no idea if it was actually painful, or if that was just from the dream. I've been having irregular contractions (uterus bulges and hardens) for several weeks now. Usually there is no pain, only some discomfort if my bladder is full. The P17 shots should start in a couple of days, as the pharmacy is filling my order now. The whole thing was delayed because my OB wanted me to have a home health agency come and do the shots. But my insurance wouldn't cover it, so Mothership will be doing it for me. I will feel so much better once we get started with it.

I am focusing on having a good experience today. They will treat me well. The results will all be good.